Symposium on the Challenges of Severe Convective Storms


The History of the Numerical Modeling of Severe Convective Storms

Robert B. Wilhelmson, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL

Over the years the use of convective models has led to better understanding and improved forecasting of severe storms and their associated high winds, tornadoes, and hail. Researchers have been able to augment observational studies through the provision of consistent datasets over regular spatial grids. In practice, convective storm models are used to carry out case studies of observed storm events, to depict the behavior of storm features such as outflows or tornadoes, and to study the response of a storm cloud or system to changes in the storm environment. Three-dimensional simulations of severe storms have reproduced, sometimes with uncanny accuracy, such phenomena as supercells, their mesocyclones and tornadoes (both mesocyclonic and non-mesocyclonic), as well as severe weather associated with convective lines including bow echos, severe squall lines, mesoscale convective vortices, downbursts, and microbursts. Further, convective storm models are used to explore the important dynamical or physical processes that influence a particular storm's behavior. Finally, computational power has now increased sufficiently so that these models are also being used in forecasting severe weather events. .

Session 4, Numerical Modeling of Severe Convective Storms
Wednesday, 1 February 2006, 4:00 PM-5:30 PM, A410

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